Getting Through the First Week

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

Dr. Howell

Quitting smoking is a hard work. It never comes easy for most smokers. The irritability, great discomfort, and the anxiety associated with quitting are enough to trigger a relapse. Getting through the first week without nicotine is very important especially that the withdrawal symptoms are at its peak during this phase and the temptation to light up is at the strongest. This is also the time where you work on your behavioral changes.bigstock-Young-Woman-With-Lighter-Light-60820016


Quitting smoking requires careful planning. If you have prepared well it will be easier for you to get through the difficult stages of quitting. You need to plan ahead and prepare yourself for the discomfort of nicotine withdrawal, and the strong and sporadic cravings to smoke.

Getting Through

Strategize. Prepare yourself to become a better and healthier you. Throw the cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays, and all other things that would remind you of smoking before the quit date. This gives you the space you needed to separate yourself from smoking.

Use smoking cessation aids. Studies shows that using Chantix and nicotine replacement therapy, especially during the first week, can increase your chance of quitting and staying quit. They help in reducing the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms giving you a better hand to work on changing your behaviors and focusing your attention to quitting. Make sure to choose the smoking cessation aid of your choice before the quit date to avoid the delay and excuses to smoke.

Work on your routines. Your daily routines associated with smoking will only make it more difficult for you to quit. Working on the changes in your daily routine allows you to manage the cravings and withdrawal symptoms better.


Device a coping mechanism. Your first week without nicotine is crucial. It is very important that you find coping mechanisms to control and manage the different withdrawal symptoms. Going for a short walk, listening to music, taking a warm shower, or drinking a tall glass of cold water can help lessen the stress and anxiety of quitting.

Talk to people. Before your quit date, try to look for a support group. It can either be your friends, family or a local quit smoking advocacy group. Also, if you have a family member who is also a smoker, you can ask their support by smoking outdoors or keeping their cigarettes out of your view, or to quit smoking as well. Joining counseling sessions can help boost your chances of quitting successfully. You don’t have to take all the burden for yourself when there is someone willing to help you.


Take one step at a time. Don’t be too hard to yourself. Rome was not built in one day. Stay committed and do whatever it takes to get it through the day without nicotine. Analyze what was helpful and what was not, and try to plan the next day from what you have learned. Also, try to reward yourself for every job well done. For instance, you felt a great urge to light up after seeing your friend smoke during an office break, but you stayed committed and overcame the urge. Getting a pedicure or eating a sumptuous meal for lunch will help lessen the stress. This will help you stay motivated and keep focus on your goal.

There is no easy way out of smoking. It requires hard work and strong will to succeed.


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